There's only one problem with dogs, they're here for a good time, not a long time. To the man or woman who can create a dog capable of living 100 years, I'd give you everything I ever owned or wanted to own.
To those who have ever lost a dog, I hardly need to tell you how painful it is. How much would we give to have just one extra day with a dearly loved dog once they've gone?
Discover how you can help your dog live longer with this mega-guide. It has so many great tips for extending your dog's life (100 to be precise).
Extending a dog's life is a goal every dog owner aims for
Our dogs are such a big part of our daily lives and we watch them age right in front of our eyes at a speed that is horribly swift. They live each day as if it were their last. We can learn a lot from them in this respect.
To want to be able to extend the health and happiness of our dogs for as long as we possibly can is natural.
Let me tell you a very quick story about an encounter I had with a man selling dog collars.
He turned up at my place of work, unannounced, pitching me his range of dog collars to sell. As it happens, I wasn't in a buying mood but I admired his gusto for turning up and making the effort.
We got to talking and he wanted to show me his dog wearing some of his merchandise. I was due for a short break so I thought, 'why not?'
He called from the back of his van a jaw-droppingly good looking Golden Retriever. Sasha was her name.
He showcased Sasha for me, adorned with various collars from his range.
I politely explained I still wasn't in a buying mood but asked him a little more about his dog.
"How old is she?" I enquired.
"12", came the answer.
"12 months? She's going to be a big girl", I replied.
"No. She's 12. 12-years old."
My mouth could not have been further open. I wish I had a camera phone back then!
This dog was fit, healthy, had the brightest eyes and coat and easily could have passed for a puppy. Vitality, energy and she looked all of 16-months old, at most.
To say I was impressed is an understatement. I asked the dog's proud owner what he'd done to get her and keep her in such great shape.
"Ahh. It's all about the diet, sleep and exercise. But not just any old diet, sleep and exercise. I know what I'm doing. All my dogs tend to live longer and look like this at her age."
From that day to this I've been obsessed with finding out everything I can about how to increase the longevity of my dogs. Knowing how to help a dog live longer should be something every single dog owner would want to explore.
So we've put together this mega guide, with the help of lots of expert contributors, who've shared their top dogs for extending the dog's lives.
How To Extend Your Dog's Life
Diet and nutrition
Before we get into the 100 tips on extending your dog's life, a quick note on diet and nutrition. Alongside exercise, feeding your dog the right diet for the age, breed and lifestyle is the most important element to give your dog a long, healthy life.
I have seen this first hand.
Chloe's life extended through diet
By changing and adapting my own dog's diet to match where they are in life, how fit they are, how much exercise they can do, how their body is able to cope with particular nutrients has given them extra years.
That is not an exaggeration.
Chloe was an 11-year-old Labrador whose body had started to show the signs of age. Her organs were in even more dire shape. Our vet conducted some tests and advised us she was showing signs of renal failure and kidney problems.
We got help in the form of a friend who's dog had gone through similar problems.
A diet change to fish, vegetables, some yoghurt and cottage cheese (among other nutrients) saw Chloe have a remarkable resurgence.
Because her digestive system was no longer being overworked, Chloe's next set of veterinary results showed almost a reversal in the ageing process. She went on to live another four years when we were worried we were going to lose her at the age of 11.
Diet matters. It matters so much. I can't overstate it.
Review it. Update it. Talk to your vet about it.
100 Tips to help your dog live longer
1. Feeding raw, fresh foods on occasion can really invigorate your dog’s diet. Commercial pet foods have come along way but, like us, dogs benefit and thrive on variety.
2. Believe it or not, all supplied pet food should be fit for human consumption therefore you should look out for food which may contain unwanted by-products. By-products include intestines, which carry diseases.
3. Garlic occasionally given in your dog’s diet can improve heart condition and has some other healthy side-effects. Don’t be fooled into thinking this herb is a cure-all though.
Garlic does have some very beneficial effects on health but, contrary to some opinion, it will not remove worms if your dog is infected.
Instead, go to your vet and he or she will more than likely supply you with a pharmaceutical solution, which will clear your dog of worms.
4. Valerian Root is wonderful for animals that are stressed or hyperactive. This herb is naturally found in pastures and animals love it.
5. Tooth decay and diseased gums produce bacteria that get into the animal’s bloodstream. It can result in problems to any of their organs but in particular, the valves in the animal’s heart can be damaged.
Kidneys are also very vulnerable and this could be one of the major killers of older dogs. Don’t use human toothpaste but entice your pet with the beef or chicken flavoured varies because you need to keep your dog’s teeth clean for more reasons than ‘the dog-breath issue’
6. I would never have thought of applying sunscreen to a dog, but pale or white dogs are very susceptible to skin cancer.
A quick smear of sunscreen on the vulnerable areas; tips of ears and nose, could be a very simple way of saving your animal’s life.
7. The health of a dog is based on a lot of factors including genetics, exercise, and regular checkups, to name a few. But the number one factor affecting the health of a dog is the kind of food that it consumes.
There are many types of commercial dog foods and diets on the market today, from BARF (bones and raw food) to steam-extruded products. Get to know your pet food labels, read the label and avoid products with chemicals and unnatural additives.
You will likely avoid allergic reactions and skin problems in your dog.
8. Health begins in the kitchen. I believe the single most important thing you can do, after loving them, is to feed your companion animals fresh, wholesome, human-grade, preservative-free foods daily.
Feeding companion animals an all-natural diet will, most certainly, improve their overall health and increase their longevity.
9. Dogs like to play all types of games and have loads of energy to burn off. It’s important though that your dog learns to calm down and “chill out” as much as how to burn off energy. Otherwise, they get stressed with the constant anticipation and over excitement.
So, teach your dog the equivalent to sitting down and having a cup of tea by putting a command on quiet and relaxing times.
10. A fit dog lives longer. Obesity amongst pet dogs is a growing problem. If a dog is overweight it puts extra strain on various parts of the body and may well shorten the dog’s life.
11. Dogs kept in a one dog family with perhaps older owners seem to age more than dogs in two-dog
households and/or younger owners.
To keep your dog mentally active try to involve your dog in training or agility classes or, if your dog loves people and is of a calm disposition, apply for him to be a PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog so he can visit people in the hospital.
12. Chewing a long-lasting bone or non-chemical dog chew is an excellent way for a dog to burn calories, keep teeth healthy and, very importantly, keeps the dog happy and occupied.
13. Groom your dog regularly. At least once a week with a good ‘massaging’ rubber dog brush. This will help stimulate circulation and manipulates weary muscles.
14. Toys are a great way to entertain a young dog. As your dog gets older you may find their choice or even desire to play with toys declines.
If this is the case, look for new products that come on to the market which are likely to appeal to your dog’s personal sense of fun, whether it be tugging toys, hollowed-out toys in which food can be placed or funny-noise making toys.
Dogs love toys, you might just have to shop around to discover exactly which ones your dog likes as they grow up.
15. Happiness – make your dog happy! It sounds so simple but with a ‘holistic’ viewpoint on health means a happy, active, joyous mind will have positive effects on physical well-being. Scientifically proven.
So you can either take your dog to see Cannon & Ball in concert at Blackpool Pier or play with them several times a day, whichever they’d prefer.
16. Glucosamine – a tablet or two a day (depending on how big the dog is). This will help the cartilage develop and could help stave off arthritis and other problems.
17. Keep teeth healthy with regular chewing of a good chunky bone at least once a week. Knucklebones are ideal, most pet shops will sell bones that are suitable for dogs – beware of bones that could splinter or cause choking.
Marrow is good for dogs and there are few dogs who don’t enjoy gnawing down on a solid bone once in a while. Be careful where they bury their bones though, beautifully maintained flower beds are not appreciated as much by a bone carrying dog as the keen gardener who created them!
18. A good dog bed – sleep is undervalued by people if not by dogs.
Somewhere warm and comfortable and out of draughts – even if it is your sofa – a dog knows the benefits of sleep so make sure they have somewhere ultra-comfy, warm and dry to enjoy this most beneficial of canine pastimes.
19. Training – not only will regular dog training sessions keep a dog’s mind active, but it will also improve your relationship with them. No dog is ever too old to enjoy being challenged.
Find out what your dog enjoys and work with it. Play and training should be pretty much one and the same thing if you are doing it right.
20. Water – free and unrestricted access to water – clean water should ALWAYS be available. Some people have, in the past, suggested that water should/could be given at regular intervals and water in-take monitored – this is universally regarded as incorrect now.
Clean, fresh drinking water should be on-hand whenever the dog needs it. Monitor if you think your dog is drinking excessively and speak to a vet.
21. A natural diet can do wonders according to Jacki Bunn, HNC Canine Behaviour and Training. Plain and simple foods such as chicken and rice and vegetables, with as few additives as possible. I
t’s true for you so it’s equally applicable to your dog.
22. Mental stimulation through training can greatly reduce the symptoms of dementia in old age. Although it may not seem obvious to go back to basics with a dog who’s been there, seen it and eaten the t-shirt, regular training exercises with adult dogs can do them a power of good.
23. Too much stress in the home can affect the dogs’ health as much as any other family member. Keep stress in the household to a minimum or make sure you have your domestic disputes outside the earshot of Fido.
24. Be choosy about treats. If your dog is overweight take some food from his daily ration add a clove of garlic and keep in a little pot.
25. Regularly check your dog for lumps and bumps. Cancer is a big killer in dogs the same as it is in humans. If any unusual lumps are found don’t be afraid to take your dog to the vet to have them properly looked at.
Early detection of cancer is key to successful treatment so don’t worry about appearing over-concerned when you find something on your dog’s body which wasn’t there before.
26. Teeth that are not used are not cleaned and consequently, plaque accumulates. Poor teeth and gums can be prone to more serious diseases.
If your dog, like many, is one of a growing group of pets who is only ever exposed to commercial pet food, treats and snacks etc, then their oral health could be at risk. Bones, chews and toys will put your dog’s teeth to good use.
27. Supply raw chicken wings, chicken necks, or oxtail to young/small puppies when they most want to chew and explore. This will reduce the risk of gingivitis, which lasts into old age and makes eating too painful.
28. Use Arnica at times of stress. This homoeopathic remedy called Arnica Montana to be given orally at a dose rate of 30C – three doses every four hours for two days. Arnica Montana is very well known.
It is often used for some kind of trauma, emotional or physical. It is good for muscle aches, sprains, strains, and injuries. Arnica is given to patients prior to coming to the surgery for examination or operation.
The vet must be told of any drugs your dog has had. The Arnica will produce a calmer dog that settles quickly and is less anxious. Especially good for highly-strung dogs.
29. Spaying and neutering can prevent testicular tumours amongst male dogs and a series of health problems in females. The procedure can also reduce a dog’s desire to roam.
Castration is not a behavioural cure-all. If you don’t intend to breed from your dog then consider this option on medical grounds.
Poor behaviour should be addressed by a suitably qualified dog trainer or behavioural expert, not the surgeon’s knife.
30. Stop your dog becoming over-weight by feeding raw chunks of carrot instead of fattening treats. Dogs seem to love the crunchiness and raw carrot is not only healthy, but it also keeps their teeth clean – an ideal reward/treat.
31. D.A.P diffuser will reduce levels of stress which will help your dog live longer. DAP stands for Dog Appeasing Pheromone. Pheromones are natural chemical messengers which bitches with puppies produce from the mammary glands.
These pheromones re-assure the pups that the breast area is a safe area. Pheromones are released into the dog’s environment via a plug-in diffuser.
It does have an obvious calming effect and is good to use at times of stress i.e. house move or if you leave an anxious dog home alone. They are available through Vets.
32. Secure your home against dog escape. It sounds obvious but no matter how secure you think your garden might be until it’s been put to the test by a truly determined escape-minded animal, it could always be more secure.
Consider an extra set of gates if possible whereby a dog would have to escape through two sets of gates rather than one, which could lead directly to freedom if they are left open by mistake. Consider high fencing.
33. An eggshell contains lots of calcium and if given in a dog’s food once in a while can provide a crunchy little extra that will do the dog some good.
Eggs themselves contain protein which is essential to maintain a healthy immune system, essential fatty acids for hormonal, skin, kidney, heart, liver, reproductive, coat and brain health. They also contain vital anti-oxidants, which help protect the eye and reduce the effects of ageing.
Use very occasionally amongst older dogs, more frequently with a puppy’s diet but remember – they can cause laxative like effects.
34. Be alert when it comes to your dog’s health. Some conditions, such as gastric torsion can take fatal effects within hours. If your dog is behaving oddly, take the ‘better to be safe than sorry’ approach and call the vet.
35.Use Vaseline to help maintain healthy pads and noses. In the winter and summer dog’s noses and pads can become dry hard and cracked. (Just like ours) Vaseline moisturises and cares for keratinised areas really well.
36. Dogs will eat grass if they feel nauseous – the grass makes them sick then they feel better.
Some dogs eat grass anyway even when they feel well – it does them no harm but excessive grass consumption could be a warning that your dog may have a gastrointestinal upset.
37. Insure your pet. Simple. Do your research on policies by all means but don’t consider insurance as an option. Unless you don’t think your dog is worth more to you than your car, you should ensure every year, without fail.
38. Tailor your dog’s exercise regime to his age. An old dog will not benefit from too much exercise, in fact when winter comes, old dogs will benefit from having a little extra bulk on them.
39. Learn as much as you can about the dog you own. Whether you own a Pedigree Poodle or a rescued ‘bits n pieces’ dog.
Learn what you can about the breed, learn what you can about parents (if possible), learn what you can about known health problems within the breed, known health problems within the family line and so on.
A little acquired knowledge and the dog you share your life with can go a long way to you having a happier co-existence.
40. Surveys show that about 50% of dogs get lost every year. Most are quickly found but over 100,000 ends up in stray pounds. Many cannot be returned to their owners as there is no identification on the dog.
Permanent identification with a microchip allows dog wardens to find a stray dog’s owner quickly and is an essential supplement to the legal minimum of a collar and tag. -
41. Bones can harbour harmful bacteria, always boil any bones before you give them to your dog to chew on.
42. Plastic feeding bowls are more difficult to clean thoroughly. Bacteria can remain and cause the dog to become ill.
Food odours can remain on the plastic for longer if you have a fussy dog, the lingering smell of decaying foodstuff can cause him to be even fussier.
43. Antifreeze has a very tempting smell for dogs. Be mindful during the winter months of areas where it may have leaked onto the ground. Your dog may lick it and the effects of the substance can be fatal.
44. Never feed a dog chocolate. It contains theobromine, which is a potentially fatal toxin to dogs and is also high in sugar. There are plenty of chocolate alternatives.
45. Many dog owners make the mistake of giving commands in long sentences that only another human being would understand.
You get certain inflexions in the dog’s bark or whine, but only another dog understands “dog talk.” Why should you expect your dog to understand all the words you use? True, your pet will love to hear you talk.
Still, it is your tone that reaches and pleases him. Make sure commands are short and sharp, like ”sit” and ”down” otherwise prepare for your dog to start ignoring you.
46. A spot of rubbing alcohol on the paw pads is an excellent way to cool down an over-exerted dog.
47. Nails must be kept short for a dog’s paws to remain healthy. Long nails can affect a dog’s gait, which can lead to hip problems. Regular walks on concrete usually keep nails in trim naturally.
If your dog’s nails do become over-grown, a trip to the vets or dog groomers for a quick trim could also be the ideal time for a general K9-MOT/Health Check!
48. If you are going to trim your dog’s nails yourself, always use a specialist clipper as they have a device which prevents trimming above the ‘quick’, which is where the blood vessels are located.
Never use normal household scissors for this job. If you do accidentally cut to the quick, Styptic powder is useful as it helps to stem the bleeding.
49. As a guide to nail length, if you can hear the nails clicking on the floor they are too long.
50. If you lead a busy life with little or no spare time – make sure your dog doesn’t suffer.
It might sound daft but there is a great tip for professionals or people with hectic schedules – enter times each week called ‘dog time’ time that you must spend playing, fussing or relaxing with your dog.
You are lucky that a dog will work to your schedule so whatever you do, don’t leave them off it altogether.
51. In the case of a bee-sting, a paste made out of baking soda and water is good for reducing the swelling.
52. Grooming is particularly important for the older dog.
Not only will regular brushing keep his coat and skin from becoming dry, but it will also help you find any lumps, tumours, or other abnormalities, which should be brought to the attention of your vet.
53. Older dogs are prone to accidents and injuries on stairs and outside steps.
Many times injuries occur because the dog doesn’t realise their limitations so you, as an owner, will occasionally have to be responsible for walking them up and down stairs on a lead when they may not have done this in the past.
This is to prevent the dog from approaching steps or stairs too fast and possibly injuring limbs.
54. dogs who have failing sight can injure themselves. Placing bits of newspaper around hazardous areas, such as in front of patio windows will help them find their way around.
The rustle will become a familiar ‘trigger’ to make them slow down. Hanging beads is also a good signal.
55. We all know never to leave your dog in the car during the summer. But no matter what the temperature is, a dog in a car will get too hot very quickly, even if it snowing outside. Also, imagine your car is stolen with your dog inside?
A criminal who is prepared to steal a car might also be prepared to throw your dog out onto the road or worse. dogs in cars, only when you are. A very simple rule to live by.
56. If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child’s wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in.
57. In the winter groom your dog regularly. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated.
58. Keep the fur around the paw pads neat, this aids the detection and removal of gravel and seeds.
59. Rock salt (grit), used to melt ice on pavements in the winter, can irritate paw pads. Rinse and dry your dog’s feet after a walk.
60. Household cleanliness is important for you and your dog. Paying close attention to the crevices of couches and chairs and other hard to reach areas when cleaning can help reduce the possibility of dust mites or potential allergic reactions.
61. Be sure to rake up wet leaves and grass clippings and do not store rubbish out in the open as they are perfect conditions to attract fleas.
62. With elongated bodied dogs such as Dachshunds, spinal problems will be intensified by jumping downstairs and off the sofa.
If you can’t train your dog not to do this, a pillow or bean bag at any ‘landing point’ will soften the impact and reduce spinal damage.
63. When in doubt. Call a vet.
64. Don't put potentially curable problems down to old age. A common misconception is that lameness and stiffness as a dog gets older is 'old age' and is 'just one of those things'.
Ageing is a process and it's one which brings with it a host of different conditions many of which can be slowed down or reversed by seeking a veterinary opinion. In some cases, a medical condition can be completely eradicated regardless of the dog’s age.
65. Keep a notebook of changes in your dog’s health. It could be very useful if/when you visit the vet to discuss any health issues affecting your dog.
66. Don’t feed your dog turkey skin, they can’t digest it.
67. Keep your garden free of mushrooms, many types of mushrooms, even ones that are edible to humans can be poisonous to dogs.
68.Hydrotherapy can do wonders for older dogs with joint and bone problems. This is a much under-used means of creating a happier, healthier dog – furthermore, once they get used to it, most dogs love it!
69. Your dog will not comprehend the ageing process, he will still try to do everything he did as a pup.
Ensure that you tailor your lifestyle to include him, but don’t go at too fast a pace, because he will try to keep up and could end up injuring himself.
70. dogs can actually pick up bacteria from us. As they get older, the immune system becomes less effective so make sure you wash your hands before and after you fuss your dog.
71. A dog masseuse can relieve some of the aches and pains associated with old age, which can help improve the dog’s quality of life.
72. Eliminate potential causes of cancer.
Modify their environment so that they avoid contact with pesticides, herbicides, airborne pollutants, and toxic household chemicals found in the cupboards, in the furniture, under the sink, and in the garage.
73. Introduce herbs and probiotics into the dog’s diet. Herbs help to balance the organ system, which enables the immune system to operate more effectively. It also reduces the risk of certain cancers.
74. The body of a dog is not designed to digest cooked meat or cooked fat. 30% of a dog’s diet needs to be raw fat, feed him this and see his coat and skin improve.
75. Dogs, contrary to popular belief, are not totally carnivorous. A mixed, varied diet is key to a happy healthy dog. Give the odd treat here and that, pieces of fruit and veg once in a while – your dog will enjoy the variety as much as you would.
76. Feed an arthritic dog slightly less than they are willing to eat. This will ensure that he stays trim and doesn’t cause any more damage to his joints and bones.
Do this early on in life and you will see the ageing process slow down slightly.
77. Reiki, an ancient Japanese form of energy healing, is a good way to relax your dog. It also promotes recovery in dogs suffering from ailments associated with old age.
78. Golden maize provides essential carbohydrates. No wheat glutton means there is less chance of irritable skin conditions.
79. Linseed oils help maintain a healthy shiny coat all the way into advanced years.
80. Routine suits dogs. They, like us, like to know where they stand in life. They enjoy variety but a variety that can be worked into a fair core routine works best.
81. Second-hand smoke can have serious health consequences for dogs just as it can for people. If you or someone in your house smokes, make an effort to do it away from the dog.
The same applies if your dog is around anyone else who smokes. A dog’s nose is ultra-sensitive and smoke inhalation can cause them a lot of discomforts or even cancer.
82. Oily fish is excellent for the joints of dogs as it is for humans. Fish is also a very useful form of feed when a dog is on a diet.
Fish has a lot of nutrients that will allow a dog to lose weight without losing out on vital vitamins. Of course, it is easier to avoid a dog becoming obese in the first place.
83. Your dog should see the vet at least once a year for a physical check-up. Try and make trips to the vet as pleasant experience as you can for the dog. dogs have a natural tendency to become anxious when their owner’s show signs of anxiety or nerves.
If you can ‘pretend’ to be as excited about going to the vets as you are about going to the park, maybe even take a little toy or treat along with you, it will make the dog’s whole veterinary experience more enjoyable.
84. Worming should be done at least four times a year. You should also be astute enough to spot the telltale symptoms if your dog already has a worm infestation.
Symptoms can include weight loss, suddenly increased appetite, poor coat condition, mucus in the eyes, excessively bad breath, lethargy, constant irritation around the back passage, visible spine, pot belly and in some cases vomiting.
If you do suspect your dog as having worms then, although unpleasant, you should closely examine the dog's faeces for evidence of either round or tapeworm. Tapeworm is rarer and it appears in segments and is flat.
The more common roundworm is pointed at both ends and looks like small strands of noodles, it is a pale yellow. Worms can be treated with a dose of veterinary subscribed worming solution.
Be aware that cheaper, supermarket worming products might not be as potent at clearing a worm infestation as a veterinary subscribed one.
85. Ensure your dog is always as safe and secure in a moving vehicle as any other passenger. Travel is something most dogs enjoy but their safety should never be compromised.
86. Always be prepared to seek the advice of professionals but don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if necessary. Veterinary care today is better than ever.
Advancements in animal medicine and treatments for conditions which would have killed a dog several years ago are commonplace. A vet is a business and you are its customer.
A good relationship with your vet is essential, therefore if you feel your dog is not receiving the best care possible, exercise your consumer rights and seek an alternative ‘supplier’.
87. Cleaning your dog’s ears on a regular basis is essential, especially in breeds with long or particularly furry ears. Before you start to clean your dog's ears, check the ear for hairs blocking the ear canal.
If necessary, pluck out the hairs blocking the ear canal. Next, remove any excess wax by using an oily cleaner, e.g. warm cod-liver oil, liquid paraffin or a special ear-cleaner. Do not use powders as they can increase problems.
Try not to rub too vigorously or too often, as the wax is produced partly to stop irritation, therefore, your dog still needs some wax in his/her ear, so, too much cleaning causes irritation.
If you are using cotton buds never let the tip of the cotton bud go out of sight, it may be easier to use cotton wool.
If however, you are using a cotton bud, use your fingers as a stop, and hold it like a pencil but always keep the tip insight, you can never do any harm this way.
88. In the event of an injury to your dog you may need to apply a bandage. A bandage can protect an injury and keep it free from infections until it is possible to get to your dog to a vet.
You will need to use an absorbent pad, such as lint gauze, kitchen towel, or even a handkerchief, but don't use cotton on an open wound as it could leave fibres in the wound. When applying the pad, try to cover as much of the wound area as possible.
Next, wrap a bandage around it 4-5 times using other parts of your dog for anchorage, e.g. if your dog has cut his/her ear, when you have applied a padded cover you can wrap the bandage 4-5 times using your dog's head for anchorage.
The final stage is to secure the bandage with the adhesive tape, you should never use a rubber band as this could cut off the blood supply.
89. If you ever have cause to pick up your dog (note: dogs should only be picked up when needed, they don’t tend to enjoy the experience on the whole) you should talk to the dog first it won't be surprised when you lift him/her.
If you're alone and in any doubt about how the dog will react if it has been injured or is suffering some form of seizure, it may be a good idea to muzzle the dog. If you need to pick up a small dog you should place one hand under the dog’s chest and use the other hand to support the rear end.
If you need to lift a larger dog you should place one hand or arm under the dog's chest in front of his/her forelegs and use your other arm to support the dog's hind legs when you are lifting the dog.
To protect your back from damage before lifting the dog, bend your knees rather than bending from the waist down.
It can help to have a second person to gently hold the dog's head and talk to the dog, this can help the dog to stay calm and will stop him/her from panicking and turning to bite you.
90. If your dog appears under the weather, don't rely on his or her nose as a guide to the dog’s temperature or general state of health.
If you are unsure of your dog’s well being you should make sure you take his or her temperature, this will also be a good sign as to whether you should call your vet or not. Measuring a dog’s pulse gives you a direct count of the heart rate.
The best technique involves putting the ball of one or two of your fingers over an artery, and the best place to find an artery is on the inside the thigh, this artery is called the 'femoral artery'.
In the centre of the thigh is a depression where a pulse can be felt as the femoral artery transfers the femur. Another area to detect a dog’s pulse is over their heart area, low on the left-hand side of the chest.
To count the pulse use a watch with a second hand and count the beats for a minimum of 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Try techniques when your dog is healthy so that you know where your dog's pulse is for future reference. If in doubt, consult your vet.
91. Occasionally, a dog's anal ducts become blocked with fluid and may need emptying. This can be distressing to your dog as they can become swollen and painful.
Signs of this are licking the area repeatedly and/or "scooting" across the ground on their bottom. The first time you notice this, contact your vet and have them empty your dog's anal sacs.
Have your vet empty your dog's sacs for at least the first time. If you would like to try this for yourself the next time it happens, ask your vet to show you exactly how.
Rest assured, it’s a disgusting, unpleasant thing to have to do and it never gets nicer but, in all seriousness, it will give your dog a much better quality of life and in some cases, could even save it.
For many owners, cleaning of the dog's anal glands is something they'd rather leave to the vet!
92. If your dog begins to limp it could be a sign of a limb disorder. There are a few things to look for so that you can examine the severity of the injury.
Some symptoms are your dog carrying his/her leg clear of the ground or just dabbing it down if your dog’s foot appears to be swollen and painful when touched and if your dog appears to be favouring one leg (even if you can't see swelling and it doesn't appear to be painful).
There are a few possible reasons that could cause your dog to limp. It's possible for your dog to have sprained their limb, they could have fractured their limb, or even have a wound in their limb. Grass seeds can make their way into a dog’s paw and can even be fatal.
If the limping persists or your dog still appears to be in pain, the best advice is to contact your vet as what may start out as a fairly non-serious condition could have devastating consequences.
93. To see a dog scratching is not uncommon. However, if they start to scratch excessively, there could be a problem. Your dog could have a skin disease.
Common signs to look for are parasites like mites, lice or fleas, bacterial sores (these are small, infected spots and red, scaly inflamed areas), impacted anal sacs (this can be identified by your dog if he/she licks the sores at the base of his/her tail), or finally if he/she has contact dermatitis (this can be identified if he/she has a very red belly).
When treating your dog, aim to take care of each specific cause. If you notice parasites, bathe your dog in an anti-parasitic bath. If you have any doubt what parasite your dog has, treat him/her for fleas to be safe.
If you think your dog has bacterial sores, wash the localised places in the antibacterial wash. If you think your dog has packed anal sacs the best thing is to do is to contact your vet. If you think your dog has contact dermatitis, cut off access to nylon card, car seat covers and disinfectant on floors.
If in any doubt at all or if the problems persist, contact your vet.
94. Every month, you should make it a task to look over your dog for signs of health problems. You should check their coat, their skin, eyes, teeth, gums and ears.
You should make a note of any changes such as bad breath, watery eyes, overly waxy ears, or dirty teeth. You should consider your dog’s diet each month.
Are the stools firm and consistent? Is your dog’s weight within healthy boundaries? Is his/her coat shiny? Are his/her teeth clean and breath (within reason) pleasant?
If you make this a regular exercise you’ll be in a position to correct any problems that may be occurring at an early stage.
95. Always be on the lookout for unusual behaviour from your dog. Behaviour can be extremely telling in the event that your dog may be developing a problem.
Destructive behaviour, for example, can be a sign that the dog is bored, feels unchallenged, is becoming dominant or may not have enough (or the right) toys to play with.
96. Dogs are unable to express how they feel through speech but their body language is extremely telling. Being able to read your dog’s body language will help you understand how they are feeling at any given time.
Aggression, fear, playfulness, sadness, boredom and other emotions can all be detected by watching your dog’s body language. Find out more about how to read a dog’s body language by reading specialist behaviour books or even taking a consultation with a behavioural expert.
Remembering that your dog will never be able to tell you how they feel, understanding them as best as you can go a long way in making sure you are acutely aware of their state of mind at any time in their life.
97. All dogs thrive in a settled ‘pack’ environment. Disruption to pack order can have very negative effects on your dog’s wellbeing. As it is with people, turmoil in the home can transmit itself to dogs and can cause some sensitive dogs to become withdrawn, fearful, even aggressive.
Try and ensure home life is harmonious and as routine as possible and you will own a happier, healthier dog.
98. Socialising your dog and ensuring he/she gets to meet and make lots of new friends (people and other dogs) will give them a ‘more rounded’ character. They enjoy company, they enjoy new things and they enjoy seeing lots of different places.
If you can give your dog a stable but varied life, they will live longer – exactly the same as people who work longer tend to thrive well into their old age. Don’t be tempted to ‘retire’ your dog by default.
99. Cool canines need to be just that, cool! In hot weather conditions don’t be ashamed to deck your dog out in a nice, damp t-shirt. It will make them look wholly daft but they will thank you for it.
100. Make full use of the reams and reams of professional advice available on dog care through outlets such as your local vet or animal charities such as the Blue Cross, RSPCA, PDSA and Dog's Trust.
There is so much expert, professional advice to picked up either online, by the telephone, through the pages of K9 Magazine or even at your local library if you're an old-school type.
Dogs should never have to suffer through a lack of own knowledge and equally, as a responsible owner, you shouldn’t have to suffer the premature loss of a dog because of a scarcity of relevant dog care information or access to expert advisors.